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sad news about Nicky D's pizza in Silverlake

Never have I seen a place take a dive SO fast. We'd been just a few weeks ago, but this week when I saw ALL new faces AND a new menu I knew there was trouble. Orders were wrong; food was late, pizza was burnt and greasy. There was tons of drama with customers arguing with the new manager, also. Called a friend that's a regular and confirmed screw-ups with her order last weekend. I am going to miss it. The old manager really seemed to have her crap together. Maybe they'll get some of the staff back, but it's a doubter. This is Fred 62 all over again. :(

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  1. Say it ain't so! I live one block away, but haven't been there in 3 weeks. Wha' happened?! (If they changed owners - I haveta say - we saw it coming: There were never enough people eating in...on a regular basis.)

    1. What happened? I thought it was a husband-wife team.
      Has it been sold?

      Arghhh ...

      1. The reason I haven't been back to Nicky D's for over a year is because of all the drama the last few times I went. When their pizza is good, it's good, but if they forget to put in your order or deliver it two hours late, then it's not really worth it. Don't know about the new management though.

        1. I thought it was just me! Last Saturday they made me call back three times -- and I was ordering at 5pm! They didn't include the salad dressing in the order, but I found that my pizza seemed to be the norm. Gotta confess, I'm not the biggest fan -- it's good, not great. If Casa Bianca was in our hood -- look out. The pizza's a little thin for my taste -- if I'm gonna have pizza, want to have pizza.

          P.S. This new site is great!

          1. That's interesting...we were there last weekend and thought
            it was just great!! Everything we ordered was delicious. However, we noticed that the manager was no longer there and everthing seemed to run much more smoothly and the general feel of the place seemed happier.

            Nick & Bunny (the owners) are wonderful and their
            business is a great perk of living in this neighborhood.

            Of course, I can't help but wonder if this posting wasn't
            put up from a disgruntled ex-employee (besides the manager,
            we noticed a few other employees were no longer there, too)!

            2 Replies
            1. re: gossamered

              gossamered - Nice try. No just a customer that liked the food and the atmosphere. It's cool you like the owners so much. Maybe you can straighten them out. I gotta say I never saw them there before (and my family and I are very much regulars from the hood). I never even knew the staffs names (I told them apart by tatoos). May your luck continue with good food. To me burned is burned and greasy is greasy and customer service is - well you know. We'll be giving it a while to see how the changes settle in.

              Gotta say, this new Chowhounds set-up WAY better. Just trying to look at the old one was maddening.

              1. re: bo_burger

                FWIW, for the a number of years until the last year or so, Nicky was ALWAYS there. I think he was able to ease back once the operation started running more smoothly.

            2. we were there friday night and our pizza was burned and with huge air bubbles in it (other places i've watched the cooks pop the bubbles when they form). service was excruciatingly slow and ditzy.

              btw, this was my second visit. on our first visit, many years ago when they opened, we paid and waited and waited. finally, 40 minutes later they announced that they couldn't make our pizza because the oven was too hot.

              i'm continually amazed they remain in business.

              3 Replies
              1. re: hjb

                Air bubbles in pizza are not necessarily an indication of something bad. They are characteristic of hand-tossed pizza dough. Machine made pizzas don't bubble much. Someone popping the bubbles isn't necessarily an indication of good-quality either. That's a style thing.

                1. re: hjb

                  Well, they certainly have had their ups and downs in terms of quality control, so I don't doubt you've had problems. But "many years ago"? I thought they've only been open 4 or maybe 5 years.

                  1. re: Briggs

                    you mean 4 years doesn't count as many? this is silverlake restaurant years we're talking about! that's like 16 earth years ...

                2. I never understood the mystique about this place. Had their pizza four times and each time it was mediocre, even the beloved white clam. Delivery took way over an hour. Attitude galore on the phone. What's with Rowena anyway? Aside from Blair's, Edendale Grill and Flor Morena aren't deserving of the hood in my opinion. Anyway, I'm sticking with Pizza Buona.

                  1. i didn't realize this place had gone downhill, and have certainly noticed some inconsistencies over the years (i wouldn't say many, but i'd say three), especially with the salads: sometimes they're huge and gorgeous, sometimes shaken right out of a bag.
                    as far as burned pizza, half the people i know order nicky d's "well done" because they think the norm is undercooked, so maybe they've started going at the other extreme.

                    I hardly think one staff exodus can suddenly bring about the change described by many here, and certainly not a lasting one. The staff there has changed many times anyway; that's the nature of the restaurant business.

                    All in all, its one of those places i like and have been weathering its ups and downs for way more than just 3 weeks. I may be in the minority, but sometimes it's nice to have a place to go to where the food is pretty good but it's always a crapshoot how it's going to be on any given night, and to go into an experience there knowing that. This is one of those places that i give lots of leeway to because i like the food and the owners and the people that've worked there.
                    And for their price range, it's one of the few options in the neighborhood that can be stellar.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mr mouther

                      I have no patience with a place that is great one day and crap the next.

                      I write them off after a very few miscues. My time, money, and taste buds are too precious to waste.

                    2. I am really sorry to hear that they have changed hands. I always LOVED the food I got there, and so did everyone who I ever took with me. The one thing that I always heard about them was that their pizza was awful when it was delivered. I would believe it...this is the kind of pizza that is meant to be eaten when it is still so hot you burn the roof of your mouth. I wonder how many of you that don't get the appeal are people that got delivery or picked up the pizza and brought it home. Either way, your timing was off, and I am not surprised you are puzzled by those of us who loved it.

                      I will say that my boys were disappointed last time we went because they didn't have the Uno Game that we always played while waiting for our pizza.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: magerber

                        It's not for certain that it's changed hands (at least from this thread) - only that a manager and some staff have left.

                      2. No, it has not changed hands...just a change in some of the staff. The owners are still the same.
                        We ate there on Saturday night and everything was great!

                        1. My husband and I went there a few weeks ago and were greeted by the owner so I am confused about this "change of ownership" rumor. They have really good pizza. It's fresh and hand tossed. This means that you end up with a nice thin pie but fluffy crust. Maybe give the new staff a chance again because we had a great time relaxing on the patio with some wine and pizza.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: amie32

                            We just attempted to order pizza there. The person taking the order seemed very confused when I requested "crispy" on the pizza -- I've ordered it this way many times. So I was getting uneasy and then the kicker came when I tried to order the chicken wings, she actually asked me how I'd like it cooked! Huh!? "Rare, medium or well done." I kid you not! I informed her that you can't serve chicken rare and who the heck wants a bird well done? She rudely asked if I'd like to talk to the Chef -- uh, no. Dude I just want my pizza! She put me on hold like I was being so difficult. I guess it's adios to Nicky D's which sucks as we don't have a lot of choices in Silverlake for delivery. Anybody have another recent experience?

                          2. With all the complaints, has ANYONE bothered speaking to Nicky himself? He's so affable, yet caring about his business that I'd be surprised if he didn't try to make amends.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Briggs

                              I thought there was new owners -- I'll put in a call, but what's the story?

                              1. re: Silverlaker

                                Nicholas DeMarinis is the owner, and he can be reached at 323.664.3333. No ownership change. Might have been a management one that should be the basis of much of your conversation with him.

                                1. re: carter

                                  I have found that forwarding the thread URL does wonders in other problems like this.

                              2. re: Briggs

                                That is an excellent idea. And I will definitely give him a call this weekend because I am a big fan of the place and though I haven't had a chance to eat there in several weeks, I received another word of mouth negative report from tues. night from a pal of mine who also used to be enamored.

                                That chicken wing thing is quite upsetting

                              3. Four Words: Pizza Buono -- Pizza Paul.

                                1. Four Words: "Pizza Buono -- Pizza Paul."

                                  Can we get a few more words, are these two places or one? I thought Pizza Buono doesn't deliver to Silverlake. Pray tell! We need more choices!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Silverlaker

                                    Pizza Buona (Sunset & Alvarado) do indeed deliver, at least to my house on Micheltorena. And I love them.

                                  2. Oh, and Carter, i will call him, thanks --

                                    1. update -- I just called and they don't know when Nicolas is going to be in "maybe not for a few days." I didn't leave a message, but I'd encourage "regulars" to call and in the meantime, DON'T ORDER THE CHICKEN WINGS!

                                      1. Well, that explains two bad pizzas from Nicky D's. First we phoned in and went to pick up. They had forgotten to make our pizza and still burned it. Second, last night, we picked up a pepperoni pizza -- very burned and very few pepperoni. Two instances, one July, one yesterday. I am going back to Casa Bianca. Problem is that Nicky D's is about 1 mile from my house. Oh well.

                                        1. Despite spotting this "sad news" I ordered from Nicky D's Wednesday night (30 Aug).

                                          I disgree with the sad news. Delivery was slower than promised, which is the first time that I've ever had that happen. It took an hour instead of the 45 minutes quoted. Used to be that the pizza showed up earlier than expected and the driver wore a white cook's jacket, which I thought was a nice touch. I asked the normal delivery guy about that once when he didn't wear it -- He said that's b/c he wasn't working the kitchen that night.

                                          As to the pepperoni-mushroom pizza, it was a little cold and soft, as if the driver got lost. Fortunately, I had the foresight when he was running late to turn on the oven. Put half of it in the oven for 5 minutes and that did the trick.
                                          I like their herby sauce, the (usually) crisp yet pliable dough and that it's not too cheesy.

                                          We typically order from Nicky's once a month and have done so for the past three years. To me, it's been very consistent and I'm not the least bit afraid to order from Nicky's again. But, if there's anything else better that delivers in SL/LF I'll give it a try.

                                          1. Anyone eat there on Holloween?

                                            I will never order from them again.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Fat Billie

                                              Have you experience ordering from ANYONE on Halloween before?

                                              Last year on Halloween, I couldn't even get a slice of pizza from Lamonica's in Westwood, because they had like 300 pizza orders to fill, even though I was sitting in the restaurant, basically begging for a slice.

                                              I think it unfair to judge a restaurant for their service on a holiday. The best will rise to the top, we hope, but most are so overwhelmed by the demands of the market that they cannot perform anywhere near their peak. I'm thinking top-end restaurants on days like Valentine's or ANY restaurant that does delivery on a day like Halloween. I order from Nikki D's regularly and they typically deliver to my house within 45 minutes, and often less, of calling for delivery. I wouldn't hold their performance on Halloween against them unless they were unnecessarily rude to me on the phone or did some other unforgiveable rudeness. But taking a long time in delivering on a holiday, I'd forgive.

                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                We ordered from Farfalla on Hillhurst on Halloween, no problem !

                                            2. I picked up from Nicky D's last weekend - the staff and Nick were extremely friendly when I went in. The pizza itself was fine - I had had an amazing Napoli pizza at Osteria La Buca the night before, so by comparison it wasn't great, but I've liked their pizza in the past.

                                              1. I've been back in the restaurant once since our original (and first ever crappy) visit. And I even learned what all went down with the entire staff quitting en masse when the manager was fired by the owner's wife. But anyway, a big lot of us went back in October since we did love the pizza at Nicky D's.

                                                Things weren't as bungled overall this time but we ordered 2 pizzas: one was burned on the bottom the other not really even cooked all the way so the cheese was warmish and gloppy. I LOVED their salads but even those are off now. Who wants big onion cores in a salad? [sigh] We and other friends in the hood have made the effort with pick-up orders but still badness ensues. It really was the favorite place for us to get together for a casual weekend night of beers and tasty chow. Hard to beat the atmosphere on that patio (that has since had its fire pit removed). [sigh again]

                                                Hard Times ain't great, but at least they can cook a pizza.

                                                1. After the last three attempts went bad, I've stopped ordering their pizza. they all took way too long - one over 2 hours, and weren't that good. I used to eat there all the time, I'll miss it.

                                                  1. just got delivery last night, only took 30 min when they had said 45. they left off one of our toppings, which is totally annoying considering how expensive they are. we decided to suck it up and ate 3/4th of the pizza. then we changed our minds and called to complain, and they immediately said they would send out another pizza. delivery guy arrived in 30 min, checked the old pizza was missing artichokes, and then left us with both pizzas. now i have a ton of extra pizza, but i'm impressed they addressed our problem so quickly (which granted should not have happened in the first place).

                                                    1. last time I ate there is was good but expensive.

                                                      1. i ordered pizza from there once, about 3 months ago. it was all floppy and greasy. unedible. it sat in my kitchen for two hours before i threw the whole thing in the trash. i'd never done anything like that before. absolutly disgusting.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Ginger Baker

                                                          i love their pizza but one day about 6 months ago we ordered a few big pies. One was the teriaki chicken. It arrived blackened, un-cut and had several chicken bones in it. I called because i assumed the proprietor would be interested to hear but he gave me total attitude and said "should i send someone over to cut it." C'mon.

                                                        2. hey, i noticed this was posted a long time ago, but i just had to say.....i heard way different about that manager... can't say what i really know, but the pizza is good..that's the one thing really keepin' that place goin.. high turn over is never a good sign, but the pizza is good, when it's done right..better in house than delivered..

                                                          1. Okay, so let's keep this old thread going! I ordered from Nicky D's last night b/c Hard times has been terrible lately. Pizza showed up exactly 45 minutes later, was warm, and perfect. Pepperoni and Mushroom pie. Blew Hard Times away. They are a bit pricier than Hard Times but last night they were worth it.